week second: ink something

In my quest to mark a little time and do art today I inked something. I started by grabbing two gel pens, one which is very thin and another that wasn’t. I do love the smoothness of gel pens. Here’s a great lineup of inkin’ artists. I do wish I had found this before I began my own drawing. Comparing the different ways the artist use the pen is interesting and inspiring.

I found an image I could do in just black. I was looking for something with contrast but also I really wanted it to be interesting. I scrolled through a lot of images of trees, but wasn’t feeling very inspired. I liked this one and could have had a little fun with it… maybe I’ll do something later like this. I do really love the eyes that aspen trees have, so I kept that in mind but I thought that maybe a black and white image would be perfect.

I went through a book I got ages ago. It’s a book of the streets of Italy in the 1950s and 1960s. There are pages of intriguing and heartbreaking scenes, faces that reflect hard times. The photograph of the lady on the right, with the glamour magazines behind her and the giant stacks of newspapers… I would love to say something smart about her, like she’s a testament to, whomever. But that would sound trite and diminutive. She deserves more respect than that. I didn’t think I could accomplish what I wanted to. I would lose something with the medium (pen) of choice.

I had been looking for inspiration for about an hour. I decided that I was thinking too hard. So, I moved back to the computer and settled in on a little wildlife, and just got busy.

The bird part of the drawing sorta … flew by (pardon my pun). I sketched the trees and found some contrast there with the bird. I made the belly fuzz too low so I placed the large tree branch there, with that line that started out being wrong. I couldn’t figure out where the eye went. I decided to leave it for now. She’ll get some peepers when I am good and ready.

I enjoyed the knots on the branches. I referenced another image for the large aspen branch. When I first started sketching it out that branch wasn’t the same width all the way down. I made it smaller towards the bottom, and this is pen so I decided that I had to fix it in ‘post production’ … so I started sketching around the branch and found the shape that lived within the drawing already. I do this a lot. I had a high-school art teacher that told us that the right line lived in there somewhere and your eye will find it. In the same spirit … Sometimes the ink or paint doesn’t land where I wanted it to, so I do something different. This generally proves it landed where it should have and I was wrong.

It was coming closer, that’s why it was larger. I made the shadows reflect this new reality… I think. Then I added the aspen knots and relished in those. I ate some lunch and came back. The bird still needed to see where she was pecking, so I gave her an eye. Trust that she has another on the flip side, just where it should be.

I’ve tried to avoid critiquing short trips into creative territory. Nitpicking doesn’t inspire more action in that realm. However, there is a line where helpful critique works to make you better… In that spirit… that little bird may just fall backwards right off that branch. Of course that can be fixed with a little rotate and crop action if it weren’t a sketchbook.

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